I found Lindsey on Facebook and was drawn to her Great Clown Portraits. I was delighted to also find out she was a clown herself. Today is special there will be 3 separate posts on Lindsey
1. On her amazing art
2. On her life as a clown (this one)
3. Close-ups of her amazing art.
Please take the time to check them all out and leave us comments and encouragement.
Lindsey AnnMarie Merryfield The Clown
1. How long have you been a clown?
Well, little did my mother know, she gave birth to a clown. I was born with this heart of a clown. However, I have only been doing it professionally for 4.5 years.
2. Who inspired you to become a clown?
My best friend Andrew Hicks introduced me to clowning. When we met it was like two pieces of the same sandwich came together. We actually made somewhat of a deal. I asked him if he wanted to arrange Christmas music with me and perform for our churches. We met in band during high school, so we were always finding small ways to get in front of people to make a fool of ourselves. He later asked me if we did that would I think about clowning with him. I said yes. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THAT REALLY MEANT! It changed my life! It was from that point on, that’s all we did. Now he’s in Ringling clowning everyday living the dream, and I’m hoping to get my shot at the dream.
3. Where did you receive training?
I attended my own clown boot camp for months with Andrew when we first started clowning; learning about character development and working on writing gags and getting in front of a crowd to perform. After 4.5 years of clowning with a partner, I’ve had to learn how to be solo since he is in the circus, which has been a wonderful challenge for me. So I have really done a lot of self-teaching and learning. Getting in front of a group and performing your own stuff is one of the best ways I think to learn. Learning to connect with audiences and what’s funny, but of course you have to be naturally funny anyways. I record myself often at performances to view and critique. I have recently just gotten back from an amazing clown school called NY Goofs for further training before I myself audition for Ringling. There was a week-long Maymester held in Texas this past May 2012. We had wonderful instructors: Dick Monday, Tiffany Riley , Jay Stewart, and Shawn Patrello. We learned a lot about character development, movement and improvisation. Which are all important in clowning.
4. How long have you been a clown?
Just as I answered number 1. I’ve always been a clown, but I’ve only been getting paid for it for 4.5 years.
5. Are you involved with any clown organizations?
I currently am not in any specific clown organizations, but I am a graduate of NY Goofs Clown school, if that counts.
6. How do you feel your clown has evolved over time? How did you settle on the particular style and design of your clown or the personality you try to project as a clown?
This is a great question. I am a human, I am constantly changing, so I am constantly finding out more and more about myself and who I am. Therefore, my clown character also changes, simply because my character is ME, only exaggerated a million times… which in itself is an exaggeration. I would say now I am just way more comfortable with myself as a whole which helps me to really embrace my personality and allow that to mirror through my character. I think being open to change and allowing yourself to explore many different areas of your personality helps you figure out what direction to take when trying to figure out which extension of yourself you want to share with the world as a clown.
7. I have learned a little more about clowns and I know there are different types of clowns, What kind of clown are you and what do you feel is your clowns most interesting characteristic?
Well I started out as more of an Auguste character but I have evolved into more of a higher status such as the white-face. Keep in mind makeup and costume is only secondary to being a clown. The person on the inside is what is important. I play a higher status because that’s more my personality, I like to take control even though in most gags that doesn’t turn out so well for me which creates comedy. I think one of my greatest characteristics as a clown or being a clown is vulnerability. Even in my high status attitude I find time to pull back and let the audience see me vulnerable side, which makes an audience like you, they like to relate and be able to feel sorry for you too!
8. Have you ever worked in a Circus and if so which ones?
Not at this present moment! We will see what the upcoming future has in store!
9. What kind of functions are you hired for example: conventions, parties…
I have performed at fairs, festivals, schools, malls, parties, churches, parks, and library’s
10. Do you have bits that are standard in the clown world or do you create your own acts?
I create my own original work. I lie in bed at night (most of the time this is what keeps me awake at night) and try to think of gags. I have a notebook that lies right beside my head. However, in clown school we learned gags by performing classic bits in the clown world, but by adding your own personality to the part you perform is what helps set a gag apart from just a well-known gag to something a little bit different.
11. Do you use props?
Yes, but I have learned the less you can use the better! It’s never a good thing to have to carry a thousand things with you to a performance. 1. You have to keep track of all of it. 2. You have to clean all of it up before you can get off stage. You should be able to entertain with as less stuff as possible.
11 a. If so did you make them yourself?
There are many props that I have used that I have spent time making myself. When Andrew and I worked together our bonus room upstairs was like a clown workshop. Clothes, costumes, props, wigs and noses, you name it we made we made it.. well except shoes. We tried that once didn’t work out so well.
12.Have you ever been in a Parade? If so, do you ride anything in the parade?
I surprisingly have never been in a parade.
13. Is there video we can watch of you on the web acting as a clown for us to enjoy?
I have a video from clown school. I’m in and out of clown makeup some clips are from class and some are from a performance we did at the end of that week .
14.What kind of presence do you have on the web, FB, web page, blog…
I pretty much just use my own Facebook to get any news or word out, photos and things like that. I don’t really have a website or anything.
Update on Lindsey as of November 9th Lindsey has graduated from Clown College:
And has officially become a Ringling and Barnum & Bailey Red Unit Clown Starting in May. Congratulations LINDSEY !!!!!!!!!
Please click here to visit Lindsey’s Facebook Page
Please check back soon for more Great Clown Portraits!
Thank for stopping by my blog to learn about wonderful Clowns and the Artist who paint them.
Now go watch a clown and have some fun!
Patty Sue O’Hair -Vicknair Artist
Watercolor and Acrylic paintings of clowns from around the world.